NCP rebel leader Ajit Pawar Tuesday resigned as Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, hours after the Supreme Court ordered a floor test in the state Assembly.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is scheduled to address the media at 3:30 pm.
The Supreme Court acceded to the request of the Maha Vikas Aghadi, a post-poll combine of the Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP, which had challenged the swearing-in of Fadnavis as CM and Ajit as his deputy in a surprise ceremony on Saturday.
The floor test is to be held before 5 pm on Wednesday, and its proceedings will be telecast live. “To curtail unlawful practices such as horse-trading, to avoid uncertainty and to effectuate smooth running of democracy by ensuring a stable government, we are of the considered opinion that it is necessary to pass certain interim directions in this case,” said the three-judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana.
Ajit Pawar had on Saturday claimed he had the support of NCP MLAs when he decided to join hands with the BJP, a move not backed by his uncle and party chief Sharad Pawar. However, almost all the MLAs who had attended his swearing-in ceremony have since reaffirmed their loyalty to Sharad Pawar.
Soon after he took oath as Deputy CM, Ajit was removed as the leader of NCP’s legislature unit. However, he has not been expelled from the party. NCP leaders have maintained efforts are on to bring him back to the fold, with his nephew Rohit Pawar also making an emotional appeal to him.
On Monday evening, the Sena-Congress-NCP combine had held a show of strength at a Mumbai hotel, parading 162 MLAs, who took an oath to remain loyal to their parties.
The BJP, however, said it was confident of proving its numbers in the Assembly. “We are sure that we will win the floor test in the Assembly, whenever it is convened. Such parades in a hotel will not help in proving majority on the floor,” BJP leader Ashish Shelar had said.
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